mercredi 21 août 2013

RENÉ VAN DER WOUDEN: Earth Festivities (2013)

“Earth Festivities is a strong album where EM of the analog years caresses modern forms without ever smothering rhythms and melodies”

1 Earth Festivities 19:26
2 Water Festivities 10:07
3 Tropical Forest Festivities 10:46
4 Arctic Festivities 3:50
5 Desert Festivities 4:52
6 Antarctica Festivities 6:57
7 Air Festivities 5:31
8 Life Festivities 5:01
9 Human Festivities 7:18

SynGate | CD-r RW02 (CD-r 73:48) ****
(cinematographic and orchestral Dutch School EM)It's been a while since I didn't hear music from René van der Wouden. Since 2009 to be exact with his very good Numerus Fixus. Since then, the Belgian synth wizard has released 4 albums and did a remastering of his out of print albums and produced those on the German label SynGate. And it's good to renew with his music again. Inspired by the BBC series Earth Planet and Frozen Planet, “Earth Festivities” entails us in the paths of René van der Wouden's influences with a very beautiful album which inhales the cosmic rhythms and ambiences of Jean Michel Jarre and the textural harmonies of Vangelis.
Voices which blow around static cracklings. The intro of "Earth Festivities" glides such as flights of birds trapped in the storm of cosmic winds. Winds which ooze like long twisted scars and which sing of their glaucous voices in a slender sonic corridor decorated of sparklings of stars. And far off, we hear the percussions clinking with the fear of disturbing. The rhythm settles down. It grows with its jingles of metallic percussions which tickle the waves of synth became suddenly very musical, floating like a cosmic waltz. René van der Wouden didn't forget the cradle of his influences. We are full into Jean Michel Jarre's spatial territories with a sonic firmament multicolored of its electronic tones to the soft perfumes of analogue. Scent that will feed the 74 minutes of “Earth Festivities”. It's beautiful and tenderly poetics. This cosmic rhythm is hiccupping finely on the knocks of percussions while that a sequences line scatters its jumping keys which frolic in their glass clothes in a dense foggy to the angelic voices. Their dance forges an earworm that will sharpen our senses during the next 12 minutes, even if sometimes they disappear for a short moment. Like the rhythm. It's quietly, under the cover of the cosmic mists, that the title-track offers its rhythmic texture. A rhythm which comes and goes and which broods its heaviness beneath intense cosmic pads to eventually end by biting of its resonant chords at around the 12th minute. It quivers like a big harmonious funk which is humming of fury on the fragile jingles of sheet steels percussions and sequences with forms of glasses which bicker in a thick cosmic clouds pierced by angelic voices. It's powerful, beautiful and oniric. It sets the tone to a completely unexpected album.
The slow cosmic derivations of Jarre are missing you? The very ambient and floating "Water Festivities" will be your antidote. It's a slow waltz where are flowing filets of sequences of which the musical grains are scattering rhythms which sleep under the surrounding layers of a synth and of its soporific sighs of tiredness. We like? The herd of short tracks in the 2nd half of “Earth Festivities” is stuffed of these moods. After this slow dance of cosmic waters where the waves and the froth intertwine in the shade of the anger of Aeolus and the cybernetic dialogues of R2D2, "Tropical Forest Festivities" seizes our ears with a surprising and attractive structure of rhythm. A very musical rhythm where René van der Wouden forges clanic percussions and notes of an acoustic guitar which support the harmonies blown in a strange wind instrument. We have this feeling of already déjà hear here with this melodic pattern that sticks to the ears so much it sounds familiar. Didn't I hear this on an intro for a documentary? And nevertheless it's unique, just like the whole sonic world of Wouden, and so ear-catching because of its paradisiacal beauty. Tangerine Dream, for Force Majeure, Mind Over MatterIan Boddy and David Wright are names which come in mind to describe better this structure of rhythm and harmony of "Tropical Forest Festivities" whose evolution takes a tangent more jumpy and more muscled in the second part. This is one of the good musical tracks that I heard this year. As much ambiospherical than "Water Festivities" but with a more weightiness at the level of rhythms, rhythms which rather remain motionless, "Arctic Festivities", "Desert Festivities" and "Antarctica Festivities" are tracks which fascinate with a mixture of organic tones sequences which snake the sides of very ambient structures. "Air Festivities" offers a soft reverie à la Vangelis pursued by sound elements which erode its sculptural beauty whereas "Life Festivities" respects the very big tranquillity of the ambient tracks with soft prisms which peal into the violin sighs that René van der Wouden borrows out of a beautiful floating orchestration. "Human Festivities" distances itself from the lot by enclosing “Earth Festivities” with an approach of electronic synth-pop à la Jarre. It's a very lively and catchy track with nuances in the rhythms and beautiful melodious approach unique to the electro-pop signature.
In an environment where too often everything is alike, René van der Wouden is a wind of freshness. He is part of this category of artists who have their own musical signature. His music is unique. Even if Jean Michel Jarre's strong recollections glide here and there, his sound, his sonic signature is his own. But that's not only the charm of “Earth Festivities”. On his last album René van der Wouden shows a strong sense of musical writing. This is a really good album where EM of the analog years caresses the contemporary forms in an electronic envelope where the creativity and the ambiospherical structures don't switch off, at any moments, the harmonious phases. It has earworms which drag here and there, as well as electronic rhythms and structures to make dream the fans of JarreRon Boots and 
Przemyslaw Rudz.
Sylvain Lupari (August 21st, 2013)

Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

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